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11 Products That Will Become “Smart” in 2020

Think the smart devices you currently own are amazing? Just wait until you see what’s about to hit the market in the very near future.

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Light Bulbikonacolor/Shutterstock

The future is now

Smart technology has changed the way we do so many things. From phones to digital assistants, thermostats, lights, and blinds, to name just a few, our devices make life so much easier. But the technology that’s set to launch in the very near future will do so much more. From improving upon what we already have to gadgets and gizmos you probably can’t even imagine, 2020 will be the year of game-changing smart devices. Here are some expert predictions about where smart tech will go, as well as a few products you’ll want to pre-order right away. And in the meantime, check out these 15 smart devices that are worth every penny.

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Close-up of white projector hanging from the roofbqmeng/Shutterstock

Projectors

Remember those bulky projector televisions from the ’90s? What’s old is new again, but this time the technology is a whole lot smarter and smaller. The Puppy Cube M1, which is launching February 2020, is an industry-first portable projector and smart home entertainment system. Truly unlike anything else out there, this device turns any flat surface into an interactive touchscreen with an HD display of up to 100 inches total. However, it can also work through voice control when paired with an Amazon Alexa device. Because it features a built-in Android OS 9.0, Android users will find the Puppy Cube particularly easy to use. This innovation is nothing like the old-fashioned projector you probably grew up with. Can you remember when technology in schools used to look like this?

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Rack with capsule clothes in beige colorsLisa Shishlyannikova/Shutterstock

Clothing

According to smart tech executive Trevor Harwood, founder of Postscapes, wearable technology such as Jacquard by Google will reshape how we engage with our physical and digital worlds. “Jacquard weaves sensors into everyday objects to give them additional capabilities,” he explains. Some capabilities include changing the song on your smartphone by swiping right on your sleeve. Another example is a backpack strap that can trigger a camera to snap a photo. Jacquard is currently integrated into several jackets made by Levi’s as well as a rather pricey Saint Laurent backpack. According to Digital Information World, more Jacquard products and other wearable technology will launch soon. Here are some more smart home technology products we’re looking forward to seeing.

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Woman With Laptop Using Voice Assistant Speaker At HomeAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

“Silent” voice control

Harwood shares that an MIT research project called AlterEgo could change the way voice control is used in technology. “[It is] a device that allows a user to silently speak to their device (think in combination with Apple EarPods),” he says. “This works by using subtle movements of internal speech organs that are received and processed by the device without the user actually voicing anything out loud.”

While this technology is not quite ready for retail yet, Harwood is certainly looking forward to that day. “The possibilities of this are endless and range from Googling queries on the fly and listening to the response, or turning your smart lights off without a single movement or audible command,” he says. Wouldn’t it be great to control your Google Home device without saying a word? That won’t happen anytime soon, but in the meantime, here’s a cheat sheet of commands.

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A woman holding the steering wheel of a car with one hand while driving.ARENA Creative/Shutterstock

Self-driving cars

According to David Ankin, CEO of ToyMakerz, self-driving cars are on their way for 2020. There’s just one caveat: They won’t be entirely self-driving. But certain self-driving features will become more readily available. “Collision prevention is really huge right now. Features that allow for self-parking and sensors to keep you in the lane, for example,” he says. “While there won’t be any major innovations with these features, perfecting this technology will ultimately get us to a self-driving car faster.”

As for the dream of an entirely self-driving car, Ankin predicts it will be another decade or so before they become commonly available. “But, we will start seeing them more prevalent in the next three to five years,” he says. If you’re not quite ready to buy a self-driving car, check out these 20 car accessories that will change the way you drive.

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Charging Station with a USB and shallow depth of fieldPamela Au/Shutterstock

Contactless charging

Dying batteries and a lack of charging stations are facts of life. And while wireless charging pads are becoming more available, they aren’t exactly user-friendly. Luckily, the nuisance of keeping a device in the perfect position won’t be a reality forever. According to digital privacy expert Attila Tomaschek, contactless charging will become standard soon. “This means that devices will no longer need a cable plugged into a wall, nor will they need to be in contact with a separate charging surface in order to charge. Instead, devices will be able to be charged completely wirelessly across the room using invisible rays of light,” he says. But what are you supposed to do if your battery is dead right now? Here’s how to charge your phone fast.

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Toilet bowl in modern bathroommariakraynova/Shutterstock

Toilets

Smart toilets have been on the market for a while now. Features such as warming the seat, bidet capabilities, and drying functions certainly make for a more pleasant bathroom experience, but the next generation of smart toilets will do a whole lot more. According to Tomaschek, not only will they have more upgraded features, but they’ll be integrated with medical testing technology. “Smart toilets will not only be able to warm the seat and automatically emit odor-neutralizing fragrances, but they will also be able to conduct useful analysis and detect certain health issues based on what the user deposits into them,” he says. No matter what type of toilet you have, don’t ignore these 14 problems with yours unless you want to end up with a big problem.

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IP camera on the shelf with toys, serving as a baby monitorJulia Albul/Shutterstock

Baby monitors

In reality, many baby monitors are just surveillance cameras that pair with an app. But a smart baby monitor with artificial intelligence is on its way to the market. Developed by Jocelyn Ragukonis at the Stevens Institute of Technology, Bira’s camera and app will have a variety of capabilities. Once the camera is mounted on the crib, Bira monitors the baby 24/7. The corresponding app shares data about how the baby sleeps, as well as information about health, development, and growth. It also alerts parents when something problematic occurs. This could be a great gift for expectant parents, unlike these 10 baby gifts that are actually seriously unsafe.

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Top view of mobile phone with blank screen and red paper hearts on white background. Flat lay. Mockup template for Valentines Day.Creative Nina/Shutterstock

Artificial Intelligence is coming to date night

Trying to plan a date night can be less than romantic, but the Exire app will take the stress out of making plans. Developed by Hayden Daly and Frank Pinnola at the Stevens Institute of Technology, it’s currently available by invitation only, but there are future plans for a public launch. Exire uses a simple game to learn what the user’s likes and dislikes are. After that, making plans is an easy three-click process. The user selects the time, budget, and location of the date and then artificial intelligence does the rest. Capabilities include purchasing tickets and ordering an Uber. Until you can get your hands on this, check out these fun date night ideas that are better than a Netflix binge.

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Woman cyclist hands with heart rate icon on smart watch, bicycle at summer trail. All on screen are design up.PopTika/Shutterstock

Smart trackers

Set to debut at CES 2020, Innowave will be the smallest smart tracker on the market. But more important than size, this device can work without a cell phone signal, transmitting the information directly through a satellite. It features a variety of modes, each one with a different capability. For example, Innowave’s Geo-Fence mode tracks people who go beyond a set location and sends a notification. It is particularly helpful to caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s. And the A-OK setting allows hikers who are out of a cell tower range to send a status message to friends. Under normal use, the battery life of this device is projected to be measured in months. Is the battery on your phone always dying? Don’t miss these secrets for better battery life.

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Baby camera on table in room, space for text. Video nannyNew Africa/Shutterstock

Portable security cameras

Smart home security cameras are incredibly common these days. But sometimes the place where you really want to feel the most secure is away from home. Set to launch January 2020, the Bodyguardz Portable 360-degree Security Camera will be incredibly useful to travelers, especially people who often stay in hotel rooms. With a compact design, this self-contained camera is easily installed in any location. It features a 360-degree rotation, which eliminates blind spots. It also has a USB charging cord and plug, so it can be used anywhere. All footage is saved to a cloud with an option to purchase more storage space. In addition to employing smart technology, you should always do these 11 things to stay safe while traveling solo.

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Table lamp and books on the office table. Light background.Olgart Production/Shutterstock

Lights are getting smarter right now

Can’t wait for all this new technology to become available? Launched earlier this year, the Dyson Lightcycle is pretty darn futuristic. This smart desk lamp creates a highly personalized light experience and reduces eye strain by tailoring the amount of light to your activity, age, geographic location, and time of day. The app’s algorithm uses your phone’s time and date as well as GPS data to determine the right amount and type of light to use. It also has several preset modes for activities such as relaxing (warmer light) and completing tasks (brighter, cooler light). Looking to spend less on lighting? Here’s how to save on lighting as well as slash 10 more household bills.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest